I am in the process of getting my third novel and my first non-fiction book on published. My preparation of the non-fiction book for publication is my third go around. Previously, I had graphics design artists do the formatting for the cover while I did the formatting for the interior. This time around, I have designed and formatted both the cover and the interior. Below I will give a few behind the scenes accounts of fitting your interior within the submission guidelines for self-publishing through Createspace. It is not an exhaustive account, but it will put the requirements on the map for any potential self-publishing authors.
The first area I’d like to discuss is the interior. So you’ve written a book and have had it edited! Congratulations! The biggest part is done. If, for some reason you decide to self-publish, your work isn’t completed just yet. Now comes the task of getting your book in a format for either e-book or hard copy sales. (I do both). The first thing I have to do is set up an account through Createspace.com . Once I have the account set up, I have to go through the process of registering my book title to receive a free ISBN # set (one 10 number and one 13 number). Then we get to the business of formatting our book.
The first thing you’ll need to do is determine what size your book is going to be. Standard fare is 6″X9″ (USA). There are other options. You do this by determining what the cover size is going to be. Once you figure out the cover size, the real work of formatting begins.
I write my final drafts using MS Word. When I write, I use the default page settings, which are 8.5″X11″. That means when I finish I will have X amount of pages formatted to 8.5″X11″. Obviously, this will not fit into a 6″X9″ cover, so I have to alter the page layout to 6″X9″. Once I do that, I need to determine the margins. It is usually defaulted to either 1″ or .5″ all around. Sometimes that is just a bit too much space around the text. I’d barely have anything written on the page. Plus, I’ll have a significant amount of total pages (this directly affects pricing). I modify the margins to fit the way I want it to look (the formatting shows in Word if you’re using the “page view” option).
Once I have the page layout set along with the margins, the next thing to do is the math. You’ll want to consult Createspace’s submission guidelines for interior to get the spacing just right. This includes accounting for bleedthrough. Bleedthrough is the space around the edges of the document that may or may not be cut off in the printing stage. You’ll want to leave a bit of space all around your pages to account for that. Creatspace gives the exact formula in decimals. For me it ended up being close to 3/8″
After you have designed the format to fit the sumbission guideline, it is time to make the pages more aesthetically appealing. There are three guidelines that I use to get it to look the way I want.
1. I put different parts of the book in sections with page breaks. I.e. The title page and copyright page are in a section. The Table of Contents are a different section. The introduction is in a different section. Each chapter is a different section. (For nonfiction) the Endnotes are in a different section–I use the footnote/endnote function on Word. The Epilogue is in a different section. The Bibliography is in a different section. The author page is in a different section. This comes in handy because it helps contain any changes I make to that section without affecting the the formatting of other sections.
2. After I have my sections divided out, I go through and make sure all named sections have their names at the top of the page for that section. I.e. Table of Contents sits at the top of the Table of Contents section. Introduction is at the top of the Introduction section. I do this for every section: each chapter begins at the top of a page. The endnotes begin at the top of a page. The Bibliography begins at the top of a page. Etc.
3. Next I put in the page numbers. I prefer to put them as footers in the center of each page. Honestly, it’s easier than trying to format the pages to be on the outside of each page, because we have to account for and predict how the pages will lay out in the PDF format. I’ve done this before and it is a lot of back and forth work. I do use different formats for different sections. For the Introduction I use the standard lower case Roman numerals (i,ii,iii,iv). This does require actively separating their format and sequence from previous and following sections (Under home tab -when you are in the footer section–the Headers and Footers group in the ribbon. Uncheck “link to previous section” Because it is automatically set to link the sections together. The only one’s I link are the actual chapters, endnotes. That way the pages are continuous. For the chapter sections through the Bibliography (for nonfics), I keep the pages continuous.
4. Final step for inside, (for nonfictions), I follow the format of other books in my genre. Typically on the odd numbered pages, I put the title of the book in the header with a center justification. On the even numbered pages I put the title of the chapter (You’ll have to uncheck the “link to previous” box as well as check the “different even and odd pages” box). I put them at a smaller font so it doesn’t look like the body of text.
When all is said and done, save it as a word file and as a PDF. PDF will be for uploading. The Word file will be in case you need to alter something due to improper formatting or something you don’t like visually in the proof copy. The Word file will already be formatted and will make changes much easier. If you make changes, simply save it as a PDF with the same name and replace the old PDF. Rinse lather and repeat until desired appearance is obtained within the submission guidelines.
Bonus: On extra bit of advice. When you write a book with the Word default page setup (8.5″X11″), your paragraphs may look normal and evenly broken throughout the page. When you confine the same material to 6″X9″, your paragraphs could easily go on for a page or more. For the sake of your readers, you’ll want to break of your paragraphs into smaller paragraphs. I advise finding a natural break in the flow of though and start a new paragraph. Your readers will thank you. There is nothing more daunting for a reader than to open a book and see a huge block of text on a page with no visual breaks. Intimidation = not going to read.
So this is a brief snapshot of what we have to do to get our interior ready to publish through Creatspace. Next week we will discuss designing and formatting the cover.
What are your thoughts about this post? Have you self-published a book? If so, what did you do? Did you do anything different? Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you for reading the T.M. Williams Author page. Here it is my goal to Expand Your Mind Through the Power of Words.